Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Employee Appreciation Best Practices: Zoosk Throws Holiday Parties

Zoosk LogoZoosk.com works hard and plays hard – and that translates to employees feeling engaged and excited about working for the company.

gThankYou! Holiday Office Party

Thinking beyond — or in addition to — the checkbook when giving employee gifts lets staff members know they’re appreciated, writes Inc. Magazine’s Sara Hottman in “How to Choose a Holiday Gift for Your Staff.”

She quotes Paul Vagadori, senior human resources director for San Francisco-based Zoosk.com, an online dating community: “We work hard, we play hard.”  Check out the Zoosk.com blog – it looks fun to work there!

In his fast-paced company, Vagadori knows how important it is to show employees the company values and appreciates their stellar efforts. “We want to show them we’re willing to invest time and money for what they do,” he tells Hottman.

Parties help build a sense of team and boost morale, and Vagadori hosts several during the holidays:

  • A Thanksgiving potluck — the company springs for entrées and each employee brings a favorite dish.
  • A fun pub event in mid-December—everyone enjoys beer and snacks.
  • A formal gala at year-end — a professional photographer takes pictures as  employees and their dates play games and hit the gambling tables, and everyone gets a framed photo at the end.

The company gives other holiday gifts, too.

  • Extra paid time off — so employees can be with family and friends.
  • Bonuses — merit-based gifts for going above and beyond.
  • Small, useful gifts — nice travel mugs with the company logo, or gift certificates of gratitude.
  • Opportunities to give back to the community — a giving tree, where employees take tags and buy gifts for a family in need, and a food bank.

“We have a healthy competition over who can bring in the most weight in food,” Vagadori says to Hottman. “This way, individuals who work in a nice environment, and who are happy to have jobs can give back. It’s nice to be on the giving end.”

Be creative and make it personal when you give workplace gifts during the holidays and year-round. You’ll more than reap the benefits in employee retention and goodwill.

What’s your plan for holiday giving this year? SHRM’s annual survey says 72% of employers plan to host holiday parties this year – do you?

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

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What to Serve at Your Holiday Party: Turkey or Ham?

A perfectly browned turkey or a glazed holiday ham, sliced into layers like the petals of a flower. Either makes for a crowd-pleasing main course, ample enough to feed a crowd, with leftovers to spare.

But when you’re hosting a holiday gathering (that isn’t Thanksgiving — turkey has the clear edge there), which do you choose for your centerpiece? What makes better appetizers for a cocktail party?

If your gathering is less than two weeks after Thanksgiving, everyone might be happier with ham. A spiral-sliced, smoked bone-in or boneless ham comes already cooked, so all you have to do is warm it up, glaze it and serve.

Hosting a cocktail party? For appetizers, ham is a little more decadent than turkey.

For example, I served ham and cheese puff pastry squares (recipe by Ina Garten on the Food Network) for my New Year’s Eve party in 2010. They were finger food, easy to make and fantastic with sparkling wine.

Ham and rice croquettes are a tiny bit more fussy because they require frying, but reviewers of this Gourmet recipe raved about them. “Superb! One of the easiest apps to please a wine-swilling crowd,” wrote one; another said, “My guests really loved them.”

For a Spanish flare, try Spanish-style garlic shrimp with ham and bell peppers, which is a “great tapas or appetizer with crusty bread.”

If you have picky eaters or anyone who keeps kosher on the guest list, go with turkey. Turkey offers white meat for the dieters and dark for everyone else, and most flexitarians make an exception for fowl.

If you choose, you can even roast a smaller bird (though the leftovers are so good, that’s a hard argument to make).

Credit Elinor Carucci for Bon Appétit

For appetizer portions, Jennie-O is a font of great entertaining ideas based around turkey, like pesto turkey pinwheels and smoked Gouda and turkey dip.

These turkey pockets are made super easy by the addition of premade dough.

For something different in the weeks following Thanksgiving, try something more exotic on your turkey. Asian flavors are awesome with the neutral flavors of turkey breast meat — check out the cinnamon-orange scented turkey from Rick Rodgers at Bon Appétit (the “dry brine” salt includes star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, clove, coriander and fennel).

Joanne Chang’s recipe for a turkey glazed with soy, sesame, honey and ginger, found in Food & Wine, will banish memories of Thanksgiving from your holiday gathering. Also intriguing is a recipe for a teriyaki glaze on the turkey and shallot gravy to finish.

Credit Con Poulos for Food & Wine

Whatever you do, be sure to save some leftovers for yourself! Enjoy.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Five Fresh Ideas

The turkey has been cooked and carved. The mashed potatoes are packed away, the pie decimated, the football games concluded. The relatives have either decamped for home or are napping, sedated by carbohydrates.

Now comes the best part: Leftovers!

Leftover roast turkey is a marvelous thing. This year, go beyond even the perfect turkey sandwich with these five simple recipes.

1. Jambalaya from Food52

Jambalaya on Food52

Jambalaya is the ultimate one-pot rice meal, accommodating everything from spicy sausage to shrimp, crab meat and scallops. This version on Food52 incorporates “the trinity” (onion, green pepper and celery) with andouille and cooked turkey; you can substitute any beer, long-grain rice and Cajun seasoning you like.

2. Turkey and Ham Pie on The Splendid Table

This, according to “Plenty” author Diana Henry, is the perfect dish for the day after Thanksgiving when you have leftover turkey and ham. Seasoned with nutmeg and made using premade puff pastry, it’s as comforting as it is filling.

3. Cheesy turkey quesadillas with spinach and mushrooms from “Bay Area Bites”

With creamy Monterey Jack cheese pulling together cooked mushrooms, spinach and leftover turkey in small corn tortillas, these quesadillas from Kim Laidlaw are simple, delicious and weeknight-dinner-fast.

4. Turkey and Rice Biryani from “City Kitchen” in The New York Times

For David Tanis, author of “A Platter of Figs” and author of the New York Times’ City Kitchen column, leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. “With broth made from the turkey carcass and a pile of meaty leg meat (use the white meat for sandwiches), all that is necessary is a handful of spices and some good basmati rice,” he writes.

Asian Turkey-Noodle Soup photo by Scott Peterson

5. Asian Turkey Noodle Soup with Ginger and Chiles from Bon Appétit

Ginger, fish sauce (which provides umami, a savory flavor) and fresh toppings like bean sprouts, mint leaves, serrano chiles and fresh lime make this a kind of faux-pho, with preparation cut to mere minutes with premade turkey stock and already-cooked turkey.

If this doesn’t leave you thoroughly inspired, The New York Times’ Mark Bittman has a whole range of ideas for clearing out the turkey (and stuffing, and your fridge. The best-looking among them: Turkey Salad with Scallions and Spicy Mayonnaise, Pan-Fried Stuffing Cakes and Garlic-Rosemary Potato Fritters.

Enjoy your leftovers!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

The Joy of Thanksgiving Turkey: A History

At the first Thanksgiving, they probably didn’t have a turkey.

According to a story by NPR’s Robert Krulwich, the main course was probably deer (brought by the Wampanoags), goose and duck (brought by the English).

But in these United States, in 2012, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without a fat, browned bird popping and sizzling in the oven, rendering fat for a rich gravy, leaving behind a wishbone for kids to fight over.

“I believe from a good turkey all Thanksgiving flows,” wrote Kim Severson in The New York Times, in a story headlined “After the Turkey, Everything Else is Secondary.”

“Norman Rockwell didn’t spend all that time painting pans of sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, did he? No. He painted turkeys.”

For Americans, the bird is central to (arguably) the biggest feast of the year. Expatriates, like David Leite in France, students abroad in Spain and Peace Corps workers in Morocco go to great lengths to procure, prepare and serve a bird, which, thousands of miles away, tastes a little bit like home.

One small food pantry gives out 2,000 Thanksgiving meals on the weekend before the holiday, anchoring each one with a Jenny-O or a Butterball between 13 and 20 lbs.

Even Sam Sifton, the former New York Times restaurant critic and author of “Thanksgiving: How To Cook It Well” (Random House, October 2012), will never forget the memory of the first turkey he cooked as a college kid.

“The aroma that wafted through the house for the duration of that first college Thanksgiving was and remains incredible to me,” Sifton writes. “I have forgotten the conversations. But never the meal. I have been cooking that Thanksgiving turkey ever since.”

Charles Masters for CookingLight.com

Your family Thanksgiving table might include sweet potatoes with Gorgonzola, creamy corn casserole, roasted cauliflower or stuffing with spicy peppers. It might include Jell-O salad, cranberry sauce from a can and Stove Top stuffing.

But your Thanksgiving table, like mine — like 88 percent of Americans’ — needs a beautiful, browned turkey to make it complete. And that is a very delicious tradition.

Here at gThankYou!, we wish you and your family a joyous Thanksgiving.  We are grateful for all of your support, inspiration and business.

Gratefully yours,
The gThankYou! Team

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

How to Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey: Good Tools and Confidence

Carving a turkey for the first time can be a truly imposing task. In the same way that little Cornish hens or poussins are like miniature versions of familiar roast chicken, a turkey looks like that chicken on steroids. All other considerations aside, most turkey is huge.

But the encouraging fact is, even though your Thanksgiving turkey is significantly bigger than a chicken, the process of taking it apart is largely the same.

Tools

To carve a turkey, you need a few basic tools:

  • A large cutting board, preferably one with drainage grooves or a “well” around the outside to catch drippings
  • A sharp knife — some like a long carving knife, others prefer a chef’s knife
  • A carving fork
  • A warm patter, to put the carved meat on
  • A warm pot of turkey stock nearby, to moisten the meat before it goes out (optional)

From Flickr.com

Tips

First, don’t carve your bird at the table. It’s messy. Present the bird to the dining room table if you must (although before dinner, doesn’t everyone hang around in the kitchen anyway?) and then return to the kitchen to carve.

Second, let the bird rest for around 30 minutes before carving. (Longer is usually fine; just stick the platter in a warm oven when you’re done carving.) Resting time is important because it allows all those good juices to re-infuse the meat. Carve too soon and you’ll have a dry bird (and also a very hot one, which makes it harder to carve).

Step-by-Step

These are just the basics, based on how we carve. Refer to the pros (see video below) for other methods, all of which work. For a photo step-by-step, check out this post on The Huffington Post.

1. Remove the drumsticks. My husband sometimes removes the thigh and leg pieces together, separating them after they’re off the bird. Holding the drumstick vertically, cut the meat off in bite-size pieces.

2. Remove the wings.

3. Separate the breast halves. Cut the breast meat horizontally, creating slices at whatever thickness you like.

4. With the large pieces you have, cut as much good meat off as you can. If you like, save the bones for stock and the drippings for gravy.

From The Huffington Post slide show.

Watch and Learn

Alton Brown at the Food Network presents How to Carve a Turkey

How to Carve a Turkey at Martha Stewart Living‘s “Everything Thanksgiving”

Cook’s Illustrated video: Carving a turkey

The Butcher Carves a Turkey” by Craig Duff, The New York Times

With the right tools and your new knowledge, carving your Thanksgiving turkey should be both straightforward and easy to manage.  All the best for a very happy Thanksgiving!
The gThankYou! Team

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Looking for Thanksgiving Recipes? Start Here

The holidays can be a thoroughly overwhelming time — even when they technically haven’t started.

Getting a sense of your Thanksgiving Day feast menu in advance can ease the stress of the day, and ensure you’re not quick-thawing a 20-lb. turkey the day you plan to serve it.

A home cook might compile recipes in a Word document (as I have done for years, with a fair amount of success). Even simpler, some of the sites below will make up a menu for you.

One Epicurious app for Android allows you to choose the recipes you want to make, and then puts the ingredients from each one into a shopping list. So easy.

1. Epicurious is a great place to start for Thanksgiving recipes. I like the handy timeline; a list of budget-conscious, American wine recommendations; suggested tools; and tons of recipes from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Sunset Living and more.

I love the suggestions from fellow cooks — you can click on helpful reviews and have them print along with the recipe, a great tool — and I love this Thanksgiving menu planner.

It asks six simple questions — like: How many people are you serving? Do you want something traditional, modern, exotic? Do you want the dishes to be healthy? — and then spits out a menu (I got “Ted Allen’s Modern Thanksgiving“) you can reject or accept.

gThankYou! Ginger Pumpkin Pie by Cooking Light

Cooking Light’s Ginger Pumpkin Pie
Photo by Charles Masters

2. If this is your first Thanksgiving at the stove, check out Cooking Light’s Thanksgiving for the Novice. Their suggested lineup is basic: creamy salsa dip, sausage and mushroom stuffing, honey-roasted sweet potatoes, classic pumpkin pie. But there are also dozens of fun, approachable and often health-conscious feast day recipes to be found here, including ideas for cocktails, “perfect” pies and what to do with leftovers.

3. A new site for me, and the one I’m using to plan my own meal this year, is Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ Food52. There are ideas for how to dress up your Thanksgiving table, an approachable how-to for the Russ Parsons dry-brined “Judy bird,” and contests among home cooks to find the best recipes for Thanksgiving staples like mashed potatoes.

Recipes that are currently catching my eye: cider-glazed sweet potatoes with bacon, pecans and blue cheese (below); beer-and-bacon glazed collard greens; crispy delicata squash rings with currant, fennel and apple relish.

If you like a recipe, you can click the button with the little turkey on it that says “Add to My Menu” and it pops the recipe into a Thanksgiving file. I love this.

Photo from SuperStarter on Food52.

4. A few other sites to try include Martha Stewart Living’s Everything Thanksgiving (it does literally look like EVERYTHING, from appetizers and side dishes to fall centerpieces and projects for the kids).

Thanksgiving Turkey Cake at Chow.com

I like the practical thrust and the nice visuals at the Food Network, which is a great place to find themed recipes for a Paula Deen-style Southern menu or a failsafe batch of ideas from science guru Alton Brown. If you want how-to videos, this is also the best place to start.

Finally, if you like moral support in your cooking adventures, start with the Thanksgiving recipes at Chow, the site connected to the active Chowhound forums. Search the Home Cooking board before you ask your question; chances are, it has been asked (and answered, in detail) before.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving Recipe sources?  Happy Cooking!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

The Secret to Successful Employee Gifts

So you bought your employees gift certificates for a holiday turkey or ham, or maybe a pie or some ice cream. Don’t just stuff them in workplace mailboxes. The way you give employee gifts is even more important than what you give.

Employee gifts should be given in person whenever possible.

Make your gifts as meaningful as possible by distributing them personally, with a handshake, big smile and “thank you!”.   An employee who feels valued has better morale, productivity and loyalty.  Make sure your personal delivery conveys your sincere gratitude for employees’ hard work for you.

Recognition only has meaning when it comes from someone who benefits from employees’ performance: their managers.

  • If you have human resources staff distribute your gift certificates, it’s impersonal and a poor use of resources.
  • Human resources can order your gThankYou! gift certificates, but managers should deliver them personally, with a smile and a handshake.
  • If that’s not possible, managers should write a personal note to include with each employee’s gift certificate.

Public recognition
Most employees appreciate public recognition, too. You could host a gathering with simple refreshments and call employees up to the front of the room, one by one, to receive their gift certificates along with your personal thanks — and maybe deliver a positive anecdote about the employee’s performance.

Writer Brock Boser’s article at online self-improvement community SelfGrowth.com, “Are Corporate Awards and Corporate Gifts Beneficial in the Workplace,” notes that a company’s success depends on its employees and their abilities. Gifts help you attract and retain talented employees. They also reassure employees that you appreciate their hard work and dedication. Boser writes:

 “These kind gestures will not only build your relationships but will help you build the company by utilizing its maximum potential.”

But the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s Workplace Wrangler blog, in an entry titled “Motivating Employees in the 21st Century,” cites author Daniel Pink’s  TED conference talk. Pink wrote the acclaimed “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.”

In his speech, Pink notes that “when it comes to motivation, there is a huge gap between what science knows and what companies do.”

So it’s not surprising that, as reported in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and OfficeTeam shows that 33 percent of workers in North America believe their manager fails to recognize them.

Remember—the interaction between a manager and an employee is more important than the gift itself.  It’s an opportunity to show your sincere gratitude and build long-term trust and loyalty.

How does your workplace distribute employee gifts?

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Five Ways to Add Flavor to Your Thankgiving Turkey

Turkey by itself — especially the breast meat — doesn’t have a ton of flavor and can run a little dry. For the best-tasting, juiciest turkey, most birds need a little help.

Here are five ways to add richness, spice and excitement to your Thanksgiving turkey.

Photo via Indulgy.com

1. Brine it. The white meat of turkey is not naturally  juicy. To add both moisture and flavor, soak the bird in brine the night before you plan to cook it. It works wonders.

There is a fair amount of internet buzz for Alton Brown’s five-star-rated Good Eats Roast Turkey, which as of this posting has 4,007 reviews on Food Network. To make his brine, you basically make a tea using kosher salt, brown sugar, vegetable stock, peppercorns, allspice and candied ginger. Cool it down and then soak the bird in the mixture for 8 to 16 hours.

The results? See the reviews: “A HUGE hit,” “soooooo easy,” “awesome turkey flavor, mild, subtle, and what Thanksgiving is all about!”

2. Inject it. You can buy pre-injected turkey, though some are wary of these — a whole frozen turkey from Butterball, for example, includes “modified food starch, sodium phosphates (and) natural flavorings.”

Williams-Sonoma Flavor Injector

You’ll know exactly what’s in the injection if you do it yourself. Granted, this requires some tools, but those who tried Brian Page‘s butter-injected turkey with thyme gave it “four forks” out of four on Epicurious.com.

“By putting the butter inside of the turkey it makes the turkey moist inside,” wrote one reviewer. “When the butter comes out into your water it makes it good for basting, because it helps brown the skin on the outside. I also use poultry seasoning, putting some on the inside and out.

3. Rub spices on the skin. Add flavor fast with a simple spice rub, which can range from basic to bold. One Cooking Light recipe packs tons of flavor, with cumin, coriander, oregano, sage, thyme, dry mustard and a little brown sugar.

Saveur has a recipe for a beautiful chile-rubbed Mexican turkey, involving toasted pasilla chiles, 30 cloves of garlic, orange juice, olive oil and honey.

Chile-rubbed roasted turkey. Photo by Landon Nordeman for Saveur.

4. Spread herb butter under the skin. No time to brine? This is a great last-minute technique that you can easily adapt for roast chicken, too.

Both Ina Garten and Martha Stewart offer step-by-step instructions for making a compound butter (with chopped herbs and lemon zest), then (in Martha’s case) loosening the skin of the bird and slathering the slightly softened butter underneath. Ina gets brown skin by brushing the melted butter mixture on top.

5. Stuff it. Take a lemon or an orange, a quartered Spanish onion or a full head of garlic, a bunch of rosemary or a few sprigs of thyme, and shove them into the cavity of the bird. (Apples are delicious, too.) This perfumes the meat lightly. Garlic left in its papery skin emerges melting and sweet, amazing spread on crusty bread.

Happy Cooking! Let us know what you do to make your Thanksgiving Turkey it’s flavorful best.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

The Secret to a Perfect Holiday Turkey: Dry Brining

Every November, people wrestle bulky birds into bags of brine, slopping all over the kitchen and making a mess in the name of a more tender turkey.

No more.

Wet brining — making a solution of water, salt, herbs and spices in which the turkey would sit for 12 to 24 hours — is undoubtedly a fine way to infuse flavor into a conventional store-bought turkey (most of which have been bred for size, not taste). But dry brining is so much simpler, and the results are so consistently good, that there’s no shame in taking the easy way out.

A dry-brined turkey, called “The Judy Bird” after Zuni Café owner Judy Rodgers, who pioneered the technique. Photo credit Food52.

One of the first chefs to introduce the idea of a poultry dry brine into home cooks’ regular rotation was Judy Rodgers, owner of Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. In “The Zuni Café Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2002), Rodgers wrote that the brine on a small roasting chicken “improves flavor, keeps it moist, and makes it tender.”

Applying salt in advance at first draws moisture out of the bird, but over time it draws it back in again, resulting in much juicier meat. When talking to home cooks who attempted her method, Rodgers reported that “the results are startling and delicious when they prepare a chicken this way in their gas or electric ovens.”

To dry brine your turkey, begin the Sunday night before Thanksgiving. Just before roasting, give it a few hours uncovered in the fridge so it dries out (that will help the skin get golden brown).

Credit: Washington City Paper

Measure one tablespoon of kosher salt for every five pounds of turkey (for a 15-pound turkey, that means 3 tablespoons). Sprinkle the salt all over the outside of the turkey and lightly on the inner cavity. It should look well-seasoned but not over-salted. (With chicken, I sometimes add pepper or other seasonings here — thyme and rosemary are lovely, as are blends like za’atar and an ancho chile combination.)

To store the turkey, you can put it in a sealable plastic bag, or simply cover it with a towel. It should be breast-side up; turn it occasionally.

When you’re ready to cook, give the turkey about an hour to come to room temperature. Then roast as usual — Rodgers recommends a higher heat, about 425°F, rotating midway through to make sure the skin gets evenly browned.

Find other converts to the dry-brine method at the LA Times, Food52 and Martha Stewart Living.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Butterball, Only Better…gThankYou! Employee Gifts

Sure, Butterball turkeys are tasty. But why limit your Employees’ choice?

gThankYou! Offers Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates that give your recipients the flexibility to choose what they want (whether it’s a Butterball or another Brand and variety), at the store they choose, when they want.

gThankYou! Turkey Gift CertificateWith gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates, recipients can choose Any Brand of Turkey – not just one variety, at virtually Any Grocer in the U.S.  That means your recipient can still choose a Butterball if they desire, or any other Turkey brand, variety (organic, kosher, heritage, etc.) or preparation, even fully cooked!

gThankYou! Turkey Or Ham Gift CertificateWith a gThankYou! Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificate, recipients have the flexibility to choose any whole Turkey or any half or whole Ham – so they can choose what works best for their family during the holiday season.  No more guessing as to what’s the right size or time to give your thoughtful holiday gift.

Furthermore, recipients are not limited to where they shop.  With a gThankYou! Gift Certificate, recipients can shop nearly any grocery store they want nationally, whether that’s Whole Foods or Walmart.

So why wouldn’t you give your employees more choice?

Choose gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude

  • Good for Any Brand, Variety, Size or Preparation 
  • Redeem at Virtually Any Grocery Store Nationally
  • Recipients Shop When They Want
  • Available in a Variety of Certificate Choices –
    Turkey, Turkey Or Ham, Groceries and More!

Make your thoughtful gift this Thanksgiving Season, one that allows your recipients the choice they desire and the convenience you both deserve.
Your employees will say “gThankYou!”

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.